So the first beer I brewed for my wife is a Belgian Wit extract recipe. It is now kegged next to my 2x IPA in the beer fridge.
It started 6 weeks ago with a DME kit from Alternative Beverage on South Blvd. This time I was looking for the “Her’s” brew to go in the left tap. That was part of the deal to convert the freezer in the garage to a kegerator, one tap for her and one for me. Not a bad deal since I get to make beer for two people instead of just me. It’s also nice to share brewing as a hobby with my wife.
The kit was a not a Blue Moon clone but a Belgian Witbier kit so there were no guarantees how close it would be to the Coors mass-produced bottles she has been drinking, mostly without the orange slice.
This is also the first time I used liquid yeast so I was a little nervous on how long the yeast needs to warm up or should I make a starter for it, but more on that later.
I opened the kit bag and removed everything as well as organized it for the brew. I always read over the instructions and make a time-table for the brew following the instructions. This was also the first time I used spices and fruit to make a beer. The cumin and coriander had to be crushed which I found out does not mean turned into a powder by a coffee bean grinder. I just used a wooden pistol and a glass bowl to crush the coriander. I placed everything in order on the table by the back door so it is easy to get to during the boil. I use nylon bags for each ingredient so that I don’t have a lot of debris and mess left after the boil and it makes it easy to keep thing organized before and during the boil.
Next I brought the 5 gallons of water to a boil and then started the count down timer when I added the specialty grains. After that I just went down the list of ingredients at the stated time. The hardest part was keeping in the temperature in the right range for the grain.
When I was done with the boil I used my new wort chiller and it cooled the wort down really fast compared to using the sink and ice packs. This was a great tool. I just did not run the water through it long enough since it was still 100 degrees when I stopped. Oh well you live and learn. Next time I will run it quite a bit longer. I did keep all the water and used it on the garden after it had cooled down.
After I removed all the nylon bags it was really easy to siphon the wort into the 6.5 gallon carboy since I just installed the weld-less spigot. I still ran it though a filter just in case something was floating around.
When the wort was finished transferring I pitched the liquid yeast. I decided not to make a starter for it since my brewing friend said all it does is cut out 4 to 8 hours of the fermentation. So I put in the stopper with airlock attached.
Fast forward 6 weeks of fermentation at 72 degrees and I was ready to rack to the keg. Cleaning a keg is laborious but it has much better returns than cleaning bottles. When all the parts were clean and reassembled my daughter helped me get the beer into the keg. Next we moved the keg into the garage where my homemade keg fridge resides. After force carbonating that heavy 5 gallon keg I put it in bed for frosty night’s sleep.
The next evening at dinner my wife poured herself a nice cold Belgian Wit. She approved with a smile and then kept on drinking. Not bad for my first Belgian Wit.